Perspectives: Rick Parks

In the latest installment of our Perspectives series, we interview Rick Parks, a partner and designated broker for TRF Pacific, LLC, which played a key role in developing the Metropolitan Market site. Learn more about his perspective on key issues in Sammamish.

What are the key issues facing the Sammamish business community and/or community as a whole?

Sammamish is a very desirable community and is attracting new families and growing at a good clip. The community is concerned about how to accommodate the growth and simultaneously preserve what makes the community attractive. However, the city is also underserved by retail and service business. Compared to typical American cities, Sammamish has about 1/3 of the retail/service businesses typically operating in a U.S. city. Many residents must drive off the plateau to get goods and services, which adds to the traffic queuing at the gateways into and out of Sammamish.

How would you describe your view of how Sammamish is dealing with those issues?

The city conducted a study with Makers Architecture and Urban Design several years back and came up with the Sammamish Town Center (STC) plan. It is a good solution for how to manage current and future growth. It also, wisely, designed a significant amount of new commercial space that will greatly improve the service capacity of the city, and reduce some of the current needs that drive residents off the hill, adding to congestion. The city is currently improving SE 4th Street, the main arterial bisecting the west half of the STC. This improvement is part of the overall STC plan and will greatly improve traffic flow through the center.

What improvements are needed?

Traffic capacity should be improved at the gateways. The STC plan needs to be fully implemented to improve the city’s traffic grid and provide a level of service to keep more residents in the neighborhood instead of traveling to Issaquah and Redmond.

What's the #1 positive thing going on?

The improvement of SE 4th Street along with the development and completion of the STC plan, which will certainly improve the city’s ability to manage inevitable and continued growth while simultaneously bolstering the commercial base and providing residents more opportunities to stay at home and out of the gateway congestion points.

What's the #1 frustration?

The biggest frustration for TRF is the current moratorium on the STC and the disruption caused by the SE 4th Street improvements. Many of our tenants are not located on 228th Street or are not allowed signage to 228th Street. Not having 228th exposure works, so long as the STC plan is fulfilled because completing the plan creates the density and grid circulation to support those businesses not located on 228th. Furthermore, it creates the level of services currently missing on the plateau.

What do you think of the moratorium on new development?

It hurts the city because moratorium or no moratorium, 1.8 million folks are moving into King County by 2050 and some of them will choose Sammamish. The best way to manage that growth is to execute the STC plan. It provides for housing, business and traffic management. It puts all three -- live, work and play -- in one central, master-planned community with the supporting amenities including city hall, library, YMCA, the Commons and the city’s trail system.

Looking to the future, how do you think Sammamish will be operating a year from now? Better or worse?

Better. SE 4th will be back at 100% and, hopefully, the next phase of the STC will be underway.

What are your thoughts about the Sammamish Town Center project?

It is well conceived and vetted by the community and it is an excellent plan to manage the future growth coming to the city.

Do you believe Sammamish is capable or should be capable of effectively tackling transportation issues without a moratorium?

They are very capable because they own the plan for managing the future, so long as they implement it.